I’m an easily distracted sort of man. For years, I spent hours upon hundreds-if not thousands of hours- distracting myself with various forms of entertainment. My marriage imploded in 2011, my career lost, and my possessions taken. Distraction was all I had left. Eagerly, I threw myself into games, movies, television, alcohol, pills, and even college. I tried everything to take my mind from the most horrible year of my life. For a while the distractions worked. Yet, it did nothing to fill the void I had in my heart.
Renewing my relationship with the Lord helped to fill the emptiness. However, I once again fell into the trap of not cultivating a relationship with Him. Soon, I was right back to the same ole distractions I had used in past times. “I need movies to fill the time,” I’d whisper to myself. “I can’t stand downtime and silence.” Or I’d quit games for a bit, but soon I was back at Walmart or Game Stop buying a new console. “It keeps my demons at bay,” I’d tell people.
Between social media, games, movies, and other distractions, I found myself slipping away from church, teetering on the verge of backsliding. In the meantime, I figured I’d start dating again, or at least try to.
I tried for several years, and nothing worked. Every time I found a way to flub it, or worse yet, I’d spend time trying to convince people I was worth the risk. At wit’s end, I decided to become a recluse and live alone until I died.
Or at least that was my plan.
While serving in the Army, I was always told: No plan survives first contact. It’s a fact that once rounds are fired, IEDs are detonated, or mortars land, you’re adapting to whatever happens next. I’ve also heard that if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.
So, it’s no big wonder that my plan to shut off all avenues of approach to me and throw myself into seclusion only lasted until the Lord said otherwise. I won’t lie. I enjoyed the solitude. In that season of my life, I turned my guest room into a library, began a blog, wrote over two thousand posts for said blog, and have drafted several stories. And without me even noticing, the Lord shifted my perspective.
During the fall season of 2022, I was raking leaves at my cabin. While raking, I prayed and thanked the Lord for manifold blessings. Let me explain what I mean by that.
As I wrote previously, 2011 was a season of loss. I’d lost my house, my vehicle, and other things. While raking, I realized that I not only had a cabin, but I also had 30 acres of land. I had recouped more than I originally lost. I lost a vehicle, I now owned two. On and on the list went. When I got done counting my blessings, I realized that only one thing was missing from complete restoration. My marriage.
“Lord,” I prayed, “if you don’t want to restore my marriage, I understand. I did a bang-up job screwing up the first one. I’m okay if you choose not to restore it.”
I kept raking when a still small voice whispered, “I don’t do incomplete restorations. I make people whole.”
As I write this portion, I am proud to say that I am wholly restored. Not only have I received many manifold blessings, or been renewed in the Holy Ghost, God has blessed me with a partner who loves me, supports me, and prays for me.
I’m nothing special, but I am a child of the King. From the ashes of ruin and the sin-filled gutters, God reached me when no one else could. He took the broken pieces of my life and reformed them into something beautiful in His sight. I am forever grateful that He loved me so much, He died for my sins. Not only my sins, but the sins of the entire world.
According to His Word, the invitation to restoration and salvation is open to whosoever will come. God doesn’t care what your story is now. He can take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good.
May God richly bless you all.
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